WATERSON, P., 2010. Infection outbreaks in acute hospitals: a systems approach. Journal of Infection Prevention, 1 (11), pp. 19-23.
This paper puts forward the case for applying a systems
approach to the analysis of hospital-based
infection outbreaks. A major advantage of the systems
approach is that it affords insights into how actions
or occurrences at one system level (e.g. individual error)
collectively interact with team (e.g. leadership style) and
organisational (e.g. safety culture) levels of analysis.
Most of the research concerned with behavioural aspects
of infection control has focused on a single level of analysis
(e.g. interventions to improve hand washing). The
infection outbreaks at the Maidstone and Tunbridge
Wells NHS Trust are used as a case study in order to
demonstrate the usefulness of the systems approach.
The paper further outlines the human and organisational
issues raised by the analysis and provides a means
through which these aspects of infection can be highlighted
as part of a future research agenda.